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This Australian guy is buying 300 charter buses for an incredible reason.

100,000 homeless folks. 300 busses. And one simple solution.

This Australian guy is buying 300 charter buses for an incredible reason.

In 1993, Simon Rowe hit hard times, and the only place he had to sleep at night was his car.

Two decades later, and no longer homeless, Rowe started looking for a way to give people who are homeless in Melbourne, Australia — like he had been — a place to lay their heads at night.

He explored a bunch of options, and eventually he decided to buy a charter bus, which he’s calling the Sleep Bus.


Rowe in his first bus. All photos from Sleep Bus, used with permission.

Rowe plans to use a fleet of more than 300 buses to aid Australia’s struggling homeless population.

Over 100,000 people are homeless in Australia right now, and more than 6,000 don’t have a place to sleep. Sleep Bus will hopefully provide these folks with private temporary living spaces to rest while they get on their feet again.

Image by Sleep Bus, used with permission.

To fund his passion project, Simon set up a GoFundMe campaign to scrounge up the funds for his first bus.

Within a month’s time, the campaign received donations from all across the globe. Wildly, they raised not only enough money for the first bus, but they're very close to fully funding their pilot program too, which Simon plans to launch in June 2016.

Sleep Bus is similar to a shelter, but with some key differences.

The Sleep Bus is designed to give every occupant their own personal space. Every bus will have 22 sleep pods, two toilets, a personal locker for each guest, eight kennels for animals, and a security system.

Parents will also be given control over the lock of their children’s pods, and there will be an intercom system between them. The bus’s mobility will also allow it to set up camp wherever people who are homeless congregate, as homeless populations tend to change with the seasons.

As for the pods, they’re set up more like hotel rooms than shelters — and that’s a good thing.

Each pod will be outfitted with its own freshly washed linens, a charging station for electronics, a door with a lock that each guest will have control over, climate control, and a television. In addition to regular programming, the TVs in the pods will have a special channel running ads for local support services.

“The TV is strategic, the TV is to help people stay calm, stay quiet ... but it’s also about connection as well,” Rowe explained. “It’s for that connection — to catch up on the news, or shows they used to watch, or to find out what’s happening in the world that they may have missed. To start them thinking on the path out of homelessness.”

But a place to sleep is, of course, only one piece of the puzzle that is homelessness.

Rowe acknowledges that Sleep Bus is just one solution to one problem for people who are homeless. They also need clothing, food, somewhere to shower, a pathway to permanent shelter, and — as Rowe pointed out — hygiene products for women. “As a man, I’d never thought of that before,” he admitted.

But he also hopes that the buses will be a good place to start, especially because a good night’s rest is a stepping stone toward aiding the even bigger issue of mental illness among the homeless.

Some reports indicate that in Australia up to 85% of folks without a home suffer from severe mental illness. Lack of sleep tends to make existing mental health conditions worse, and some symptoms of mental health problems can be alleviated by sleep. This makes resources like the Sleep Bus an important piece in solving the problem that is homelessness.

Sleep Bus has a lot of potential — but it all starts with that first bus.

There’s still a lot of work to do until the first buses launch in June, but that hasn’t deterred Rowe in the slightest. In fact, the short timeline seems to have energized him.

"Perhaps a young lad has problems with mom and dad, ends up out on the street,” Rowe said, "We'll catch this person. They won't fall deeper into the cycle of homelessness."

Simon hard at work converting his new bus into a Sleep Bus.

Rowe's unique idea for helping people "sleeping rough" on the streets is one filled with hope, and it has resonated with thousands of people already.

If you're interested in learning more and potentially helping Sleep Bus, you can consider donating on Rowe's GoFundMe page.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Wil Wheaton speaking to an audience at 2019 Wondercon.

In an era of debates over cancel culture and increased accountability for people with horrendous views and behaviors, the question of art vs. artist is a tricky one. When you find out an actor whose work you enjoy is blatantly racist and anti-semitic in real life, does that realization ruin every movie they've been a part of? What about an author who has expressed harmful opinions about a marginalized group? What about a smart, witty comedian who turns out to be a serial sexual assaulter? Where do you draw the line between a creator and their creation?

As someone with his feet in both worlds, actor Wil Wheaton weighed in on that question and offered a refreshingly reasonable perspective.

A reader who goes by @avinlander asked Wheaton on Tumblr:

"Question: I have more of an opinion question for you. When fans of things hear about misconduct happening on sets/behind-the-scenes are they allowed to still enjoy the thing? Or should it be boycotted completely? Example: I've been a major fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since I was a teenager and it was currently airing. I really nerded out on it and when I lost my Dad at age 16 'The Body' episode had me in such cathartic tears. Now we know about Joss Whedon. I haven't rewatched a single episode since his behavior came to light. As a fan, do I respectfully have to just box that away? Is it disrespectful of the actors that went through it to knowingly keep watching?"

And Wheaton offered this response, which he shared on Facebook:

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."